5 min read
The future of tennis seems very safe in the hands of Carlos Alcaraz (UTR Rating 16.21) and Iga Swiatek (13.37). At the Miami Open, 18-year-old Alcaraz became the youngest winner in the history of the tournament when he defeated 23-year-old Casper Ruud (15.87) in the final. The women’s title went to 20-year-old Swiatek, who pulled off the “Sunshine Double” by winning both Indian Wells and Miami.
While Alcaraz may not have been a household name before last weekend, Universal Tennis INSIGHTS saw his breakthrough coming. The No. 14 seed came into the ATP 1000 as the third-highest favorite with a 10% chance of winning the crown, just behind No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev (14%) and No. 1 seed Daniil Medvedev (23%).
Alcaraz Makes History
By winning the title, Alcaraz became the third-youngest ATP 1000 winner since 1990 (after Michael Chang and Rafael Nadal) and the first Spanish man to win the Miami Open.
"I think when I win the last point, I mean, all the time that I dream of came to my mind,” Alcaraz said. "You know, when I was younger, I dreamed to get Masters 1000. When I
Along the way, Alcaraz took out seeds Stefanos Tsitsipas and Miomir Kecmanovic in a third-set tiebreak, defending champion Hubert Hurkacz, and finally Ruud. His ATP ranking is up to a career-best No. 11, but his UTR Pro Tennis Tour ranking (based on UTR Rating) is all the way up at No. 4.
The best performer, per INSIGHTS, was unseeded 23-year-old Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo (15.19), who played like a 15.59 (+0.41) over six matches. He flew through the draw with upsets over seeds Reilly Opelka, Gael Monfils, Frances Tiafoe, and Jannik Sinner. His win over Monfils was the biggest upset of the men's tournament with a UTR Rating differential of +0.67. Cerundolo's run was ended by Ruud, who has won six of his seven career ATP titles on clay but has now established himself as a hard-court threat.
Swiatek Can't Be Stopped
Swiatek entered the Miami Open on the heels of an impressive Indan Wells victory as the INSIGHTS favorite at 13%. The Pole is on a 17-match win streak having won the WTA 1000 in Doha in February and the WTA 1000 in Indian Wells in March. While the retirement of Ashleigh Barty is what pushed Swiatek to the top spot in the WTA rankings, she’s clearly worthy of the lofty position.
"I feel pretty privileged that I can be amongst those players because I wouldn't even dream of it few years ago,” Swiatek told press. "I knew it was going to be tough playing these two tournaments in a row. I realize, at the end, it's just another match and I took it step-by-step."
Swiatek didn’t drop a set in six wins and eased past seeded players Coco Gauff, Petra Kvitova, Jessica Pegula, and Naomi Osaka (13.15). Her closest match was a 6-2, 7-5 win over Pegula in the semifinals. In the final, Swiatek lost just four games to Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, by winning 6-4, 6-0 in one hour and 19 minutes.
Osaka was an INSIGHTS dark horse and bounced back after a rough ending to her Indian Wells campaign in the second round. Unseeded in Miami, the Japanese 24-year-old scored impressive wins over Angelique Kerber, Alison Riske, and Danielle Collins, all in straight sets. She overcame a three-set challenge from Belinda Bencic to appear in her first WTA final since winning the 2021 Australian Open.
"It's been really cool to watch
The biggest women's upset was pulled off by Beatriz Haddad Maia (12.25) over No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari (13.24) in the first round. The best performer nod goes to 16-year-old Czech Linda Fruhvirtova (11.93), who performed like a 12.40 (+0.47) over four matches. After winning her first-ever match at the WTA 1000 level over Danka Kovinic, the wild card entry beat seeds Elise Mertens and Victoria Azarenka.
The players next turn their attention to the clay-court season with events in Charleston and Houston as well as Colombia and Morocco.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, April 4, 2022.